Document Type

Social Sciences



Submission Date

July 2017


“Cultural appropriation” can be defined as the borrowing from someone else’s culture without their permission and without acknowledgement to the victim culture’s past. Recently there has been a conversation taking place between Native American communities and non-Indian communities over cases of cultural appropriation, specifically the misuse of the Plains’ Indian headdress, which Natives compare to the Medal of Honor. The “hipster subculture”, which can be defined as a generally pro-consumerist, anti-capitalist group of middle-to-upper class non-Indian Americans, has selectively appropriated aspects of many minority cultures; this action has heavily trended toward aspects of Native American culture. As a result, Native Americans have reacted with outrage as they perceive the offenses to be products of insensitivity, ignorance and prejudice. Although there are many justifications behind the actions of the hipster subculture, ultimately, studies suggest that the reasons for appropriation have been subconscious and unknown even to the subculture itself. Because they do not have a consistent body of rites and cultural traditions, middle-to-upper class non-Indian Americans who belong to the hipster subculture selectively appropriate aspects of minority culture such as the Plains’ Indian headdresses, not to offend its significance, but in order to subconsciously make it, and all they believe it stands for, a part of their own culture.


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